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Saucy jokes and a dab hand with the royal flush: Prince Harry makes his mark on polar trek

Wednesday, 22 January 2014 - 8:07am IST | Agency: Daily Telegraph

Prince and war wounded savoured triumph with champagne drunk from a false leg.
  • Reuters

He endured "horrendous" storms and temperatures of -58F (-50C), but Prince Harry retained his sense of mischief as he told "filthy" jokes and built 'castle-style' latrines to keep up morale on his trek to the South Pole.

The Prince also celebrated reaching the bottom of the world by drinking champagne out of a prosthetic leg belonging to one of the wounded servicemen on his team, while others danced naked around the Pole. His antics were disclosed by fellow adventurer Dominic West, the Bafta-winning actor, who was one of the celebrity patrons taking part in the expedition to raise money for the charity Walking With the Wounded.

He said: "It was cool having Harry there because he was very much part of the team. He seemed to specialise in building the latrines and he built these incredibly elaborate ones. "He did one with castellated sides, a flagpole and a loo roll holder, and you're sitting there thinking, 'This is a real royal flush'. He must have spent about 40 minutes making it. "I remember thinking that he did art A-level and you can tell he is artistic."

The three teams, representing Britain, the US and the Commonwealth, had to dig latrine pits at each overnight stop during their journey, with walls of snow around them to keep out the wind. They reached the Pole on December 13 after pulling sleds 120 miles on skis. West, who was part of a Commonwealth team competing against Britain and the US, said the Prince also told "eye-wateringly rude jokes, which for a non-soldier like me was quite shocking". At an event to celebrate their return, he added: "He was very kind to me. When I was having trouble with the skis he helped me out and I thought, what a nice guy." The three teams set out to get to the Pole first, but when the weather deteriorated they joined forces to ensure they all got to their goal safely.

West said: "When we got to the Pole a couple of the guys stripped naked and ran round the Pole. It was a sunny day with no wind, so it was safe to do that. "The Icelandic truck drivers who were driving the support vehicles had saved some booze for us to celebrate, so we had a bit of a binge. We were drinking champagne out of one of the team's prosthetic leg." Sergeant Duncan Slater, of the RAF Regiment, who lost both legs in Afghanistan in 2009, said: "I used my legs as a primitive ice bucket and wedged the champagne bottle in there and passed them around."

He said the Prince had been "absolutely brilliant", adding: "If we had a bit of spare time it would always be, right, we're going to have a game of cricket, or we're going to make a latrine, but it's going to be like a castle, and it would always be him who was instigating it. He just fitted right in."

Prince Harry, 29, who has shaved off the beard he grew during the trek, said: "The conditions were a lot tougher than we could have expected. The wind and the storms proved horrendous. However, video doesn't lie and Team UK did win. We did. Those are the facts. To the Australian contingent, if you're watching - sorry.

"On a serious note, inspiring others is one of the cornerstones of this charity, to demonstrate to those who have experienced life-changing injuries that everything is still possible. "I hope this truly unbelievable achievement will remind everybody that they can achieve anything they want to."

Police investigating the death of Christopher Shaw, the 76-year-old former stepfather of Cressida Bonas, Prince Harry's girlfriend, are awaiting the results of a post mortem examination to establish if he took an overdose.

Shaw, who had been suffering ill health, was found with a large number of pills by his bedside, but it is "too early" to say if they played any part in his death, sources said.

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